The Instigator
nobody40
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
CiRrK
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

It is morally permissible for a victim to use lethal force as a response to domestic abuse

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
CiRrK
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,025 times Debate No: 23830
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)

 

nobody40

Con

I am practicing for the national debate competition, so would somebody that is pro please argue with this :) thank you!
CiRrK

Pro

Argumentation will start Rd. 2 :D Gl!
Debate Round No. 1
nobody40

Con

An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind, and the results are even more chaotic when the trade isn't even. I contend that it is not morally permissible for one to deliberately use of lethal force as a response to repeat domestic violence. These are the reasons why:

Contention 1: Under no circumstances should the right to life be taken from somebody.
This very contention runs deep in the roots of America as we know it, and is in fact stated in the Declaration of Independence; "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[75] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Life cannot be fairly taken from a human being. It is a right given to us at birth and that is present throughout our lives. Therefore, deliberately taking the life of a person is completely immoral. Under no circumstances can the life of a person be justly taken from somebody. In 1948, the United Nations wrote "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights", and in Article 1 that document states that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." and Article 3 states that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." No matter whether somebody is an abuser of a victim, they have the same human rights, and one of those rights is the right to life. A right can not be fairly taken away, no matter one's actions, and the right to life is unalienable and taking that right away is immoral.

Contention 2: There are alternate solutions.
It is moral for a victim to fight back against their attacker out of self-defense in order to escape from the threat at hand. However, the deliberate use of lethal force against the attacker is immoral. The legal definition of deliberate is "Willful; purposeful; determined after thoughtful evaluation of all relevant factors; dispassionate. To act with a particular intent, which is derived from a careful consideration of factors that influence the choice to be made." A victim having carefully considered the factors that influence the choice would realize they had other choices such as fighting back non-lethally out of self-defense, or going to the police. After a thoughtful evaluation of all relevant factors, it should become clear that murder is not a just solution to a problem. The topic states that the circumstances are under repeat domestic violence and therefore the victim would undoubtedly have an opportunity to escape from the violence by contacting police or social services.

Contention 3: Death is an unjust consequence for abuse.
There are still many states with the death penalty as the most extreme punishment for crimes. For most of these states, the only crime punishable by death is first degree murder. There is no state in which the traditional abuse case is considered punishable by death. A domestic abuser can certainly be tried in court if the victim informs outside sources about it, and oftentimes that abuser will receive his or her fair and just punishment. Death, however, is not a fair or just punishment for a case of domestic abuse. As I previously stated, there is no circumstance under which the life of a person can be morally taken away from them. However, should the death penalty remain in certain states, it is not and should not be used as a punishment for domestic abuse. Roman philosopher Marcus Cicero once stated that "Let the punishment be proportionate to the offense." Death is in no way proportionate to the offense of abuse, and should therefore never be a punishment for one. Furthermore, it is the duty of the court system and law enforcement to determine the punishment of a being for his or her crimes, not of the victim.
CiRrK

Pro

=Pro Case=

Definitions

Moral Permissibility: allowable by morality, but not necessarily a positive moral action

Ob. 1: To elucidate this definition I provide the famous pen analysis. If I am holding a pen we would say it is morally permissible to do so, since it doesn’t violate any moral conditions. However, we would not say holding the pen is moral in and of itself.

Lethal: deadly; having the conditions necessary for death

Ob. 2: Even though lethal force is deadly force, death does not always have to be the end result. For example, shooting someone is lethal force, but being shot does not necessarily entail death, e.g. shooting someone in the foot.

Response: a reaction to

Ob. 3: Insofar as we know that it’s a response then domestic abuse has occurred.

Domestic abuse: as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation

Ob. 4: It is important to notice the word pattern in the definition. One case of an altercation does not entail a case of domestic abuse – it must be a pattern or commonplace.

Framework

A Moral Right of Self-Defense Exists

John Locke writes,

The state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man's life, puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other's power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the common law of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power. And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life: for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for no body can desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with me.

Thus, there are a few important extrapolations from Locke

First, right of self-defense is a natural and moral right which exists to protect th sovereignty of the individual.

Second, when one tries to inflict force upon another, he has violated his own rationality and devolves to the level of an animal.

Third, a state of war exists between two people when force is inflicted upon another. This point is especially pertinent for the round because war is different than simply a one-time struggle. War permits deliberate and intended use of force. As such, even though the abused is planning out the use of deadly force, it is morally legitimate because the abusers action resembles that of war.

C1: The abuser makes the environment inescapable for the abused – circumstantially, killing might be the only way

Wright writes,

The women and children who are domestically abused by their spouses or parents are among the most marginalized members of American society, trapped in abusive relationships from which they can see no escape. They are often trapped by their abusers, who isolate them from family and friends who might otherwise provide them with assistance and support in leaving. They are frequently trapped by poverty, making retreat from the abusive situation a financial impossibility. And they are virtually always trapped by the unremitting violence, which not only batters them physically but emotionally as well, making leaving the abusive situation a psychologically unrealistic option.

Toffel writes,

These traditional self-defense requirements are problematic for women. Because society has believed for so long that the proper role for women is to obey their husbands, a woman who kills her husband is often perceived as insane or inherently unreasonable."' Men are generally physically stronger than women, thus women may need to use deadly force rather than equal force to survive an attack."2 Women are also more likely to kill their male abusers when the abusers are off guard, such as when they are asleep, because women are more likely to be killed themselves when their abusers are directly confronting them." 3 Moreover, leaving their abusers may not be a viable option for women whose abusers have stalked them in the past after they tried to leave and/or have threatened to stalk and injure them in the future if they leave.

C2: The law is unhelpful

Burke writes,

Even if someone does call authorities, the police and courts often fail to protect women from abuse. Before mandatory arrest laws, police often refused to arrest a batterer if they did not witness the abuse first hand, even if they arrived at the scene of a reported battering to find a woman covered with blood waiting for them outside. Perhaps as a result of police avoidance of arrests in domestic violence situations, batterers themselves do not perceive any significant risk of arrest for their conduct. Although mandatory arrest statutes increase the rate at which batterers are arrested, they also increase the likelihood that a domestic violence victim will be arrested for using defensive force. An unfortunate consequence is that battered women may be less likely to call the police for help if they fear they will be the partner selected for arrest or that the police, not knowing which partner was at fault, will arrest both parties. Even if a woman manages to leave her husband and secure a restraining order against him, the hurdles to enforcement of the order can be considerable. A battered woman's past attempts to resort to the police, the courts, or other avenues of escape may have failed to protect her from additional and escalating abuse, leaving her with a reasonable belief that she has no safe options.

*Unpoportionate response is necessary for self-defense (refuts my opponents' C3)

=Con Case=

C1: American Roots, UN

First, the Decleration of Indepenence was based on the writings and philosophy of Locke. Insofar as that was true, Locke believes that one has a direct right to defend one's self even in the case of preempted defense.

Second, TURN: this point collpases the rest of my opponents case. If one cannot infringe on any of the inalienable rights, then self-defense is destroyed, jais would be illigimate (jails violates liberty), etc. There are limits to these rights, esepcially the right of self-defense.

Third, the U.S. has no contractual obligation to the UN. Moral responsibility to U.S. citizens first.

C2: Alternate Solutions

First, cross-apply my Burke evidence - the law fails to protect thse women.

Second, cross-apply my Wright analysis - these women are in situtations controlled by the abuser; no other options can break this psychoogical or factual cage.

Third, deliberate use force does not mean its always premeditated and outside the context of an altercation. For example, I can deliberately grap the kitchen knife during a fight.

C3: Proportionality

Already responses too

Debate Round No. 2
nobody40

Con

I thank my opponent for his well argued contentions. However, I must attack them, but first I choose to defend my own.

C1: American Roots

You would be correct in stating that the Declaration of Independence is indeed based on the philosophy of John Locke, therefore I contend that both my argument of the Declaration giving the right to life conflicts with your argument of John Locke granting murder out of self-defense are void due to conflicting evidence. You made the point about my case collapsing, I contend that self-defense is not infringing on another man's right to life so long as it does not kill that man. Also, at no point in my case did I ever contend that jails were moral, and the morality of jails is not up for debate here, so it is an invalid argument to state that the fact that jails take away liberty wrecks my case.

C2: Alternate Solutions

I will defend my case by attacking your own further down the page.

C3: Proportionality

I find nowhere in your case any evidence that makes disproportional punishment (death for abuse) morally permissible, except for the John Locke part that I contended be thrown out for both cases. However, I shall continue with my case for it. If I were to punch you in the gut, you may punch me back, but under no circumstance may you shoot and kill me. Or, if I were caught robbing $100 from you, I will owe you $100, but may not be given the death penalty. If a husband strikes his wife twice, that does not give her permission to kill him. I find that under no circumstance would disproportional punishment be morally permissible.

=Attack=

C1: The abuser makes the environment inescapable.

I see the words "often" and "frequent" in your argument. The fact that a proportion of the victims of abuse may be low income or may be isolated from friends and family does not give the right to all victims to kill their abuser. Also, I would like to point out that domestic violence occurs among all sorts of financial situations, so the argument cannot be made that all victims can't afford to leave. The same goes for the argument that the abuser will stalk them. Your point about the victim attacking and killing their abuser off-guard diminishes the contention that it is self-defense, as they are in no immediate danger at the time. Also, it diminishes your argument that they "deliberately grabbed a kitchen knife during a fight", because when the person is off-guard it is clearly first-degree murder.

C2: The law is unhelpful.

I would like to point out that the police are not the only means of escape for a victim. There are battered women's shelters and other social services available. You mention how mandatory arrest statutes increase the number of women arrested for using defensive force, yet would the same not happen if the woman murdered the attacker? Also, the term you used was it resulted in increased "likelihood" that they will be arrested for defensive force, not that the rate of those arrested for defensive force increases. You mention that battered women are less likely to call the police, this does not mean that the police are unavailable, but that there are options for the women that they are choosing not to use.

=Cross Ex=

1- Can you explain to me how disproportionate punishment is moral on any grounds?
2- If a woman is more likely to be arrested for using defensive force thanks to mandatory arrest statutes, would the same not happen if the woman murdered her husband?
3- If a domestic violence victim murders their attacker while he is off-guard, how does that constitute as self-defense if the victim is under no immediate danger? Can I kill a person on the street that I don't like because he might have attacked me? How can we be certain that the attacker would attack his victim again?
CiRrK

Pro


Con Case


C1: American Roots


First, I would say our Locke evidence isn’t “conflicting” and thus doesn’t become mute. The only time this would occur is if our evidence said the complete opposite arguments with no ability for us to evaluate the arguments further. Locke’s philosophy isn’t that natural rights are categorically un-infringeable, but rather given a state of nature these rights exist naturally (without the need for the government to grant them). My opponent is misconstruing Locke’s political theory.


Second, he says self-defense is fine as long as you don’t kill the other person. This is theoretically ridiculous: my opponent is giving equal moral and legal worth to the aggressor and fundamentally destroying the ability to protect one’s self outright. Wasserman writes that legally one is given the right to protect oneself (i.e. protecting their own legitimate right to life)


“A proponent of a lesser-evil approach might reject many of these provisions as too permissive or construe them as conditions of excusable rather than justifiable killing. There is a more basic feature of existing law, however, which is equally incompatible with a balancing of evils: a single victim is permitted to kill any number of intentional aggressors if it is necessary for his survival.”


AND TURN: without the complete right of self-defense (i.e. ability to kill the person) societal confidence and individual autonomy would collapse – Wallerstein writes, “Starting from the premise of an absolute unqualified right not to be killed, it follows that self-defense, as a derivative right, must be an absolute natural right as well. This is so because without an absolute right to self-defense the right not to be killed can hardly be regarded as a right, as it provides its owner no effective tools to protect it. Self-defense plays a major role in resisting the direct imminent unjust threat posed by an aggressor. It also has an additional role in the defense against an indirect threat to autonomy, a threat that is generated by the fear and instability that the lack of such a right would bring about. It constitutes one of the basic conditions that allow people to live together in society. One of the reasons we value life is because it is a necessary precondition to the possibility of autonomy, of pursuing various personal and communal goals. Thus, the right to self-defense can be partly explained by reason of its implications for autonomy. No matter how comprehensive the rules of a given society are, there will always be situations where one is unable to turn to the community for help. Unless the possibility to defend oneself is recognized in these situations, the risks associated with living in a society would increase.”


C2: Cross-apply to my C2


C3: Proportionality


My opponent says nowhere in my case do I refute proportionality. On the contrary I do, refer to the Toffel evidence: she tells us that women, who are biologically less equipped at physical violence, are at a severe disadvantage in a fight with her domestic partner. One of the only ways she can defend herself is planned out preemptive defense. Proportionality doesn’t have moral weight when the individuals are inherently unproportional.


.My opponent also says that since we threw out Locke then we can’t look to his evidence. Ill refer to this under my case


Finally my opponent argues that I would not be justified in killing him if he punched me in the gut. Theres a few issues with this scenario: first, I probably am not biologically unfit enough to need to use deadly force; second, I would contend that if you kept attacking me over and over again and I feared for my life then I would morally be in the right to use deadly force if necessary.


Pro Case


Framework: Self-Defense


My opponent’s only argument against this is that it should be thrown out, but I already answered this. Insofar as this is her only attack, the arguments within the evidence stand as valid. I offered 3 independent arguments that could be extrapolated from Locke:


First, right of self-defense is a natural and moral right which exists to protect th sovereignty of the individual.


Second, when one tries to inflict force upon another, he has violated his own rationality and devolves to the level of an animal.


Third, a state of war exists between two people when force is inflicted upon another. This point is especially pertinent for the round because war is different than simply a one-time struggle. War permits deliberate and intended use of force. As such, even though the abused is planning out the use of deadly force, it is morally legitimate because the abusers action resembles that of war.


All of these can be extended as independent arguments for a self-defense framework.


C1: Inescapable Environment


My opponent argues that the evidence uses conditional words, and then says well this doesn’t give a justification to kill. This argument has no warranted link at all. But regardless, he is misunderstanding the evidence. Wright tells us that abuses spouses or children are the one of the most MARGINALIZED groups – this doesn’t necessarily mean in poverty, but can definitely entail it. The evidence argues that abusers create psychological cages for the abused where they make the abused feel insufficient, helpless and detached from the outside world. But moreover, he is missing the point that Wright is explaining archetypical scenarios associated with an abusive relationship – just because some scenarios might not fit into all these descriptions does not negate the principle of the resolution.


My opponent argues that my Toffel evidence diminishes my claim that its actually self-defense. However, he completely drops the substance of the evidence: (1) the evidence indicates that abused women are commonly disadvantaged against men who abuse them and could not sufficiently defend themselves in a direct altercation. Thus, women must be able to access a right of self-defense in a situation where they could not possibly defend themselves. (2) The Locke evidence supports this claim when Locke talks about a state of war – in war, anything needed for survival is permissible (as long as the individual is culpable). This includes preventative measures. (3) He misunderstands the “grabbing the kitchen knife” argument – it was not meant to argue against the Toffel evidence, but rather be a topical analysis which tells us that simply using the word deliberate does not factually entail preemptive. *Note: The resolution at the top doesn’t even use the word deliberate – but that is how the actual resolution is written for high school LD debate* It’s up to the readers as to how they want to analyze this argument.


C2: Law is unhelpful


My opponent argues that there are other options for women – however unless the woman seeks legal protection then the other services are rendered useless. The woman has no ultimate protection unless the law is on her side.


My opponent argues that if a woman killed her husband, wouldn’t she be arrested as well? True, but at that point the threat would have been mitigated, and the abuse completely gone. Remember the evidence indicates that the law doesn’t always prevent separation of the husband and wife. The only way to break the psychological hold the abuser has on her is through the use of deadly force.




Debate Round No. 3
nobody40

Con

nobody40 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by CiRrK 4 years ago
CiRrK
Wasserman [Director of Research at the Centerfor Ethics at Yeshiva University],
"Justifying Self-Defense,"

Wallerstein [Lecturer, St. Peter's College,Oxford University], "JUSTIFYING THE RIGHT
TO SELF-DEFENSE: A THEORY OF FORCED CONSEQUENCES,"
Posted by CiRrK 4 years ago
CiRrK
lawls I could have made a better pro case with better cards but I didnt feel like cutting or doing much analysis XD
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
Although I do have a few problems with the pro case, on closer inspection, it's still pretty solid.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
ZOMG! LD!!!!! :D and a decent pro case!!!! WTF is this?!?!?
Posted by CiRrK 4 years ago
CiRrK
Sources:

Locke. Of the State of War. Two Treatises on Government.

Wright [Associate Prof. of Law, Santa Clara Law], "Voice for the Voiceless: The Case for
Adopting the "Domestic Abuse Syndrome "for Self Defense Purposes for All Victims of Domestic
Violence Who Kill Their Abusers,

Hope Toffel [Attorney and Former Editor of the USC Law Review] Crazy Women, Unharmed
Men, and Evil Children: Confronting the Myths AboutBattered People who Kill Their Abusers, and
the Argument for Extending Battering Syndrome self-Defenses to All Victims of Domestic
Violence

Burke [Associate Professor, Hofstra University School of Law. B.A., Reed College; J.D.,
Stanford Law School] Rational Actors, Self-Defense,and Duress: Making Sense, not Syndromes,
out of the Battered Woman.
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
Alright lets do 2nd round. Too bad this site doesnt have mods to have an LD, Policy or PF format. Are you going to CFL or NFL nationals?
Posted by nobody40 5 years ago
nobody40
Either works, pro generally speaks first and if you choose to speak this round then you can't for the last round. However, we could start on round 2 if you would like.
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
Would you like to begin in Rd. 2 or do u want me to present the AC 1st round?
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
:D I debated this topic my freshman year of high school. Wow time has flown by.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
nobody40CiRrKTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Good debate from both sides. Pro made the case that the right of self-defense is fundamental. The question is then whether alternatives are viable. Pro's evidence was persuasive that there are at least some cases where alternatives are not viable. con forfeit lost conduct, but the case was fully argued so it didn't affect arguments. the scholastic debate style is a little tedious, but it was a practice debate.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
nobody40CiRrKTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Exercising my new voting powers Also, forfeit
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
nobody40CiRrKTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF